[caption id="attachment_12351" align="alignright" width="360" caption="The 9,600-square-foot site is located at 101 Rowland Way, a short distance from Sutter Health's Novato Community Hospital"][/caption]

NOVATO - A San Francisco-based medical foundation opened the doors to a new multispecialty care center in Novato this summer with the hopes of helping to retain local doctors and bring new providers to the area.

"I have been working in Marin many, many years and watched very good physicians struggling to maintain their business. Our goal is to allow them to focus their energy on care by passing over administrative work to the group," said Peggy Dracker, the director for the physician foundation of the California Pacific Medical Center, which is an affiliate of Sutter Health.

"We are not here to compete with the local doctor community but to help them stay in practice. Marin County is an expensive place to live, and it's getting more and more expensive to run a medical office here."

The care center officially opened in early July with seven physicians including internal medicine, pediatrics, liver disease management and transplant, neurology and primary care. Other specialists will also split time between the Novato center and other locations in San Francisco. The 9,600-square-foot site is located at 101 Rowland Way a short distance from Sutter Health's Novato Community Hospital in a building formerly occupied by environmental consultant agency Environ.

Ms. Packer said the group plans to expand into neighboring space as more specialties and physicians are added. The site currently houses 16 exam rooms and an on-site lab.

Foundation officials first proposed the North Marin County office in 2005 but officially commenced planning efforts about two years ago. In addition to grouping existing local resources, the foundation also hopes to attract new providers to the area.

"Part of our mission as a medical group is to bring more primary care to communities where there is a need and to make health care more accessible," said foundation Chief Executive Officer Dr. Morris Flaum.

The Novato site is the foundation's third Marin County office. The network also includes a clinic in Greenbrae near Marin General and a pediatric office in Terra Linda.